Perhaps you can all appreciate, therefore, just how immensely proud I am to join you here today, as your Royal Patron, and to play my part in helping you to celebrate everything that you, and your predecessors, have done on behalf of this country over the past hundred years.
Over these past ten decades, you have built on the experience of successive generations, learning from their experience whilst being brave enough to innovate afresh.
Since 2011, it has been one of the greatest privileges in my life to have been Royal Patron of the three Intelligence Agencies, in which capacity I have sought to champion and celebrate the remarkable work that you do and the essential role you play on behalf of this country.
It was important to me, therefore, that I should come here, to the heart of G.C.H.Q., to visit all of you in person, in such a special year so that, for what it is worth, I can offer you my deepest appreciation for the crucial contribution you make to this country’s security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
History alone cannot help us predict the threats the next 100 years will bring, but looking back at G.C.H.Q.’s unfailing ability to rise to the challenges of its time gives me every confidence that this country, our freedom and our way of life, will continue to be well served by all of you, no matter what comes at us.
The work you do is utterly essential. Its very nature means that your achievements are rarely made public, and that few people in this country will ever know just how great a debt we all owe you. But for those of us privileged enough to understand something of what you do, the difference you make to our security, our prosperity and to the defence of our values, is both clear and of the utmost importance.
It was for all these reasons, that I established my annual Intelligence Community Awards, to offer some measure of recognition for the extraordinary work that is done by the Security Service, S.I.S. and G.C.H.Q., and to celebrate the joint working across the three organizations. I also wanted to provide an opportunity to celebrate your success with friends and family, many of whom carry a heavy burden, whilst having little knowledge of the work that you do. They play a vital role in supporting you and enabling you to perform as you do, and I do hope that you might pass on my heartfelt gratitude to each of them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To you, walking in past the razor wire each day becomes routine. But I hope that you will never lose sight of the fact that you are part of an extraordinary, world-leading organisation that has achieved remarkable things during its proud one hundred year history, and which will continue to play an indispensable role over the century to come.
I know, only too well, that none of this is easy. I appreciate the challenges you face and the pressures you endure. On the hardest of days, in the toughest of hours, during the busiest of moments - please remember that you are part of something bigger. You know the iconic names of your shared history - Alistair Denniston, Alan Turing and Dilly Knox. But G.C.H.Q.’s true genius lies in the power of its teamwork, collective innovation and shared knowledge. Each and every one of you has a part to play in writing the next chapter of G.C.H.Q.’s history - you are, quite literally, its future.
It simply remains for me to say, once again, on behalf of all those in this country who hold you in such high esteem – thank you. For my part, I can only say that I have immense pride in each and every one of you, and promise you that I will be following the next chapter of the G.C.H.Q. story with the closest of interest and the deepest appreciation for the selfless service you render to this nation.
Here’s to the next 100 years!